Community center swimming pool rehabilitation
Council engaged in a lengthy discussion of the potential rehab of the community center swimming pool, which has been closed since 2014. They listened to public comment and also discussed the potential Cobre Valley Aquatic Center, which would serve the entire region with more amenities.
A specialized engineering firm from Indiana, called struc’tur’al, did a study of the community center pool and has made a proposal for the rehab. Eric Wurn, Business Development Manager from struc’tur’al, joined the meeting remotely to explain the proposal. No vote was taken.
The pool was originally constructed in the 1950s and was renovated in the 1980s. In 2014 it was closed due to excessive leaking.
According to the proposal from struc’tur’al, the rehab would involve, first, restoring the structural integrity of the pool shell and the pump room, including concrete repairs, crack repairs, and void grouting. Second, the existing concrete gutter and the plumbing components would be demolished and removed. This would include removing the deck around the pool. The gutter system was the source of a lot of leaking, Wurn said. The top of the existing pump room would be removed, all of the mechanical would be taken out, and a new system would be installed by dropping it in.
The rehabbed pool would have a stainless steel gutter system, which would be much more efficient than the old one and would have continuous skimming, a new vacuum sand filter, new drains, new deck, new ladders, and a new ADA-compliant lift. The pool itself will have a new PVC membrane liner.
The rehabbed pool would have much lower maintenance requirements and would look like a new pool. It could be expected to last 25 years or more. The project does not include repairing the kiddie pool – only the adult swimming pool.
The project would take about 6½ months from start to finish, and the cost would be $1,080,000, according to struc’tur’al’s proposal. City Manager Jepson said the rehabbed pool could open around May 1, 2022, in time for swimming next summer.
Jepson said the key piece is the affordability of the project, and this will be determined during the City’s budget process.
Several members of the public spoke, or submitted written comments, in favor of the pool rehab. They pointed out the benefits of having a fully functional recreation location in the near future, and the need to reduce the number of abandoned facilities around the city. One commenter suggested the old pool be razed and a new one built due to the extent of the problems with the old pool.
“The benefits of the pool are immeasurable and not always about dollars.” —Brandon Parker
Evelyn Vargas spoke on behalf of the Cobre Valley Recreational Aquatic Center. She outlined the efforts to date toward building the aquatic center and indicated that the aquatic center would provide many amenities that the community center pool does not. Vargas suggested that instead of operating city pools in Miami and Globe, the money for that should go to support an aquatic center that would serve all.
Vargas said the aquatic center could be built at a cost of about $7 million. However, in a recent blow to the project, BHP decided against donating land for the center.
Vargas pointed out that Coolidge had built a similar aquatic center and obtained capital for construction through a $4.3 million municipal bond issue. The Coolidge facility was built in eight months.
“Let’s commit to work on common ground. We have one chance for the next 25 years to make a great difference. Maybe it’s time we unite and make one amazing place for water recreation. It is so long overdue.” —Evelyn Vargas, Cobre Valley Recreational Aquatic Center
Vargas said that people are driving long distances to visit the nearest aquatic center, and if Globe only has the community pool, people will still be driving 45 minutes to swim because they want the additional amenities. She said the aquatic center team had received more than 1,000 surveys from local residents and only two of them were negative.
Several residents submitted written comments in favor of the aquatic center and against spending resources on the community center pool. They felt the community center pool would be a short-term solution that wouldn’t serve the community’s long-term needs, that the pool would not be adequate to the needs of people with disabilities or the elderly, and that the pool would be too small for the community and could not support a swim team. They pointed out that the aquatic center would support Globe as a destination.
Council’s discussion centered on considering the possibility of doing both projects. Jepson said it would be possible to complete the community pool rehab and still find money for operational funds for the aquatic center. Vargas said the need for operational funds is about three years out.
“I don’t see how this city can move forward with the new things and the advancements without fixing that hole in the heart of Globe that the lack of this pool being up and running provides. It’s memories, it’s historic, it’s everyone’s childhood that’s lived here.” —Paul Jepson
Councilmember Rios voiced support for the community center pool rehab in order to provide a pool for city residents to use in the near future – but also pursuing the aquatic center in the longer term.
Councilmember Shipley disagreed, saying he understands the desire to have the community pool in order to have something, but he feels Globe cannot afford both the pool and the aquatic center, and that the aquatic center deserves a chance. However, he said, if the aquatic center isn’t likely to obtain the funding necessary—especially given the fact that BHP will not be donating land—then the City should rehab the community pool.
“I don’t see us funding both, and I don’t think it’s honest to say we would.” —Fernando Shipley
Councilmember Leetham pointed out that Globe needs to support its youth with a place to go for recreation, and that the play equipment kids are using now is the same equipment he used when he was growing up. He expressed support for rehabbing the community pool so the community has a safe, appropriate place to go now.
Mayor Gameros expressed some skepticism that Globe would be able to undertake an aquatic center the way Coolidge or Florence did. Globe has a much smaller population, and the legislature will not support a tax increase to support the aquatic center, he said. He pointed out that Coolidge had to include road improvements to get their bond measure passed, and Florence has high taxes. He expressed support for pursuing the aquatic center in the longer term and rehabbing the community pool now in order to provide recreation for Globe’s youth—especially given the closure of the Old Dominion mine park.
Freddy Rios, who serves on the board at the Cobre Valley Center for the Arts, noted that there’s been an uptick in visits to the Center for the Arts, and parking spaces are starting to fill up on Broad Street – hopeful indicators of a return to normalcy. Rios said the Center for the Arts is open and has great art available for viewing and for sale.
Mayor Al Gameros commended the organizers of the recent spring clean event and urged Globe residents to take the initiative for events and projects that would benefit the city.
“This is what it takes – people need to take the lead. If there’s an event out there, take the lead, do the work.” —Mayor Al Gameros
City Manager Paul Jepson reminded the council that starting on May 3, the city will be opening up the water office to the public. Any members of the public coming into the City buildings will be required to wear a mask, and any City employee working with a customer or resident will still need to have a mask on. Internally, employees who are working together in close contact will be allowed to demask, if they both agree that they feel comfortable working without a mask.
Jepson also said the City is working to open the active adult center and the museum seven days a week. The museum has a position open for a second person there, part-time including weekends.
Jepson also reported on the sidewalk work on the north side of Mesquite. It has been jack-hammered, and the contractor was laying cement on April 27. Stop signs will be placed at the intersection with Broad to make it a three-way stop. Parking on Mesquite will be changed to parallel parking so that the fire truck can pass through safely, resulting in a loss of two parking slots. All these changes will result in a much safer intersection, Jepson said.
Mayor Gameros said there have been only 10 cases of Covid since the beginning of April, and the city is doing great. As the pandemic winds down, he said, “I ask that we continue to respect each other’s opinions….For now, let’s just respect each other and make sure we don’t get irritated with people who do not wear masks.”
Changes to City of Globe employee health insurance program
Council approved two changes to the health insurance program available to City employees. The Blue Cross Blue Shield plan has been renewed, with a new option for a high-deductible health plan. Also, the portion that employees pay for the PPO plan has been slightly increased.
City Manager Jepson said employees had been requesting a high-deductible plan suitable for young, healthy employees and families. This plan would reduce their monthly payments and give them more money in their pockets each month. For this plan, the employee contributions would be under $2 per pay period for a single person and under $10 per pay period for single +1 and families. The deductibles would be $4,000 per year for singles and $8,000 for families. For in-network primary care or specialist visits, members would pay 20% after the deductible.
People who opt for the high-deductible plan would qualify to open a Health Savings Account (HSA) to help them manage their healthcare costs. Employees could contribute up to $3,600 for singles or $7,200 for families per year, which would be taken before taxes. The City would contribute $500 to the HSA upon signup and then would match dollar for dollar up to the maximum. Unspent funds would roll over from year to year, and the account would be transferable, meaning that if an employee changes employers, the account would travel with them.
In the second change to the City’s health insurance program, the portion of the cost that employees pay for the PPO plan is increasing slightly. This is being done because ideally the City would like to be paying 66% of insurance plan costs, with employees paying 33%. Currently, the City is paying around 75% of the cost for the HMO option, and more than 85% for the PPO.
As a result of the change, single employees on the PPO plan will see their per-pay-period contribution increase from $6.37 to $29.72. For singles +1, the increase will be from $76.43 to $93.42, and for families, the increase will be from $152.19 to $170.02 – all pre-tax.
Mayor Gameros encourages employees who are considering the high-deductible plan to talk to their spouses and supervisors about the plan, to be sure they understand it fully and have the financial discipline to keep money in their HSA for healthcare bills.
Consent calendar, new business and action items
Jerry Barnes, Engineering Director, updated Council on the Connie’s bridge project. The project will take about five months to complete once under way. Globe is looking for state funding for demolition.
“By this time next year we should have a bridge.” —Jerry Barnes, Engineering Director
Council approved the following:
- Painting of a 35×50 mural on the south side of the United Jewelry building, facing the arts center elevator. The local artist, Douglas Miles, has work in the Smithsonian Institution.
- Preparation of a user-friendly packet to help building owners get a basic understanding of Historic District requirements. The rules are not being changed, just being put into a format to make them easier to understand. No one is required to make changes to current buildings. When owners do want to make changes, the packet will help them understand what changes can happen. The packet will be accessible online.
- The Arts Advisory Commission’s recommendation to support the I (HE)ART Globe initiative, described at a previous council meeting.
- A motion to proceed with interviewing candidates for the District 5 vacancy. Interviews will take place May 11.
- A new ordinance to require permits for grading and draining within city limits. The permits will protect the city, current residents, and future property owners.
- An ordinance requiring permits for work done in city rights-of-way.
- Hiring of two interns through the 2021 Summer Youth Program.
- Construction of a new fence around the perimeter of the wastewater treatment plant by American Fence Company, which will improve security and access.
- Asphalt seal coat projects in all six districts, plus the repair of the short street between Taco Bell and the gas station.
- A letter of support to Congressman Tom O’Halleran to assist him in obtaining funds from Congress for a feasibility study on a flood drainage project for McCormick wash.
Full minutes can be found by going to the City Hall website and clicking on Agendas/Minutes in the bottom left-hand corner.
Present at April 27 Meeting: Members of the Globe City Council: Mayor Al Gameros, Vice Mayor Mike Stapleton, and council members Freddy Rios, Mike Pastor, Jesse Leetham, and Fernando Shipley. All members were in attendance.
The Globe City Council meets every second and fourth Tuesday of the month at 6:00 p.m. at City Hall. The meetings are currently open to the public at 25% capacity. Members of the public are requested to wear a mask when entering and exiting the Council chambers. Seating is limited to allow for social distancing.
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